An apple and berry puff pastry tart

I owe a lot to Anne Willan’s excellent work La Varenne Cooking Course. Not that the work provided any instant recipes, but it did more than any other book to teach me the basics of cooking. It is simply written, full of lovely anecdotes, beautifully illustrated, and clearly pronounces the do’s and don’ts of the kitchen. And, although not in as many words, it declares: ‘Stay cool don’t panic.’ More than any other work it demystifies the souffle. And, once a hack has beaten the souffle, I guess he/she is halfway to cooking for the King. It was in Willan’s book that I first came across a simple and delicious recipe for a puff pastry jam tart. The French call it a ‘jalousie’, which paints a quaint picture of the final result – une jalousie is a Venetian blind. I cooked this tart in the restaurant for months. Later, when we were looking for another version of an apple pie, my mind went back to this dish for inspiration. We retained the original concept, kept a little of the raspberry jam, added lots of berries, some cubed apples, and a richly flavoured caramel and Calvados sauce. Delicious.

500g puff pastry

a little raspberry jam — If you don’t have it, use something you like which works with apples. Any berry jam, or apricot jam, or home-made marmalade, would be great.

2–3 Granny Smith apples — If you are making this tart in January or February, the apples can be peeled, cored and cut into cubes. They will have that lovely tartness of new apples. If it’s spring and you are using cold- store apples, you will need to douse the cubed apples in lemon juice for about 30 minutes.

1 punnet of raspberries — You can use frozen raspberries.

a mix of any other berries in season: blackberries, strawberries, blueberries, blackcurrants etc


Roll out the puff pastry as thinly as possible. When you think it is thin enough, have another roll. Be gentle but firm.


Cut out a template from some cardboard. The tarts will be rectangular, about 13cm x 7cm. Cut out the pastry to the required size. You will need two pieces per tart, one for the top, one for the bottom. The top piece will be slightly larger than the bottom, as it has to envelop the filling.


Lightly oil or butter a baking tray and put the bottoms on this tray. Put them in the refrigerator.


Put the roller lightly over the tops, then fold gently in the middle, joining the long sides. Cut through the fold about a centimetre apart, all along its length and unfold. Place the pastry in the refrigerator to allow it to relax; if you’re busy you can do this quickly in the freezer.


Take the pastry bottoms from the refrigerator and lightly spread some raspberry jam over them, leaving an edge of about a centimetre. Pile on the cubed apples and the berries. Moisten the edges with a little water.


Cover the apple-berry mound with the latticed top, and press top and bottom together. Refrigerate. Heat the oven to 200°C.


Brush a little egg wash (a mix of egg yolk and milk) over the pastry and bake for 25 minutes. It’s important to make sure the pastry is well cooked. It is very tempting to believe that puff pastry is cooked after 10 or 12 minutes. It certainly has puffed up and looks cooked, but in fact, my experience is that it takes at least 25 minutes, probably 30 minutes, at 200°C to ensure the pastry is cooked to that flaky perfection that separates flaky pastry from all others. A good test is that your heart beats a little faster when you take the tart from the oven — you think that it has burnt. If that’s the way you feel then it is probably just right. If you haven’t time to make your own pastry, and you can’t buy some from your favourite patisserie, then you shouldn’t attempt this tart. Certainly you can replace the base with a different type of pastry, but never the top. Once you’ve successfully made your own puff pastry, you’ll know what I mean.


The pastries will be golden brown, firm on the bottom, and very flaky to the bite. Some juice and jam could ooze out during the baking, but if the pastries have not been overfilled, and the edges are securely joined, there should not be too much of that. You can cook and re-heat on the same day.


Pour some caramel sauce or cream onto the plate. Place the pie in the middle. Serve with a few berries, a little cubed apple and cream or ice cream.

WINE: Once again, you can’t go past a botrytis Rhine riesling (auslese style) — but why not try a glass of méthode champenoise? You will find the acid in the bubbly matches the tartness of the apples beautifully.